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'We want to provide end-to-end journey assistance to our customers' - Santosh Kumar, Country Head, Booking.com

Santosh Kumar, Country Head, Booking.com and Suesh Raina Source: Sportskeeda
Santosh Kumar, Country Head, Booking.com and Suesh Raina (Image via Sportskeeda)

Booking.com launched their campaign for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 this past week. They have signed Suresh Raina as their brand ambassador for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 along with international stars including Pat Cummins and Jos Buttler.

Also, Booking.com is the official accommodation partner for all ICC Events, including the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2022 that's being hosted across Australia from October 16 to November 13. The integrated campaign will run in India during the tournament across digital, PR, radio, and television.

During Booking.com's official press event for the T20 World Cup 2022, Sportskeeda got in touch exclusively with their brand ambassador Suresh Raina, as well as Santosh Kumar, Country Head for India, Sri Lanka, Maldives, and Indonesia to discuss the upcoming ICC events, various collaborations, and several other details.


Excerpts from former international cricketer and Booking.com's brand ambassador Suresh Raina's conversation with Sportskeeda

Q. Can you comment on your association with Booking.com as their brand ambassador and what does this hold for fans & supporters from around the world?

A: I have been traveling around the world with my family and friends and for work purposes as well, and on that journey the key factor has been Booking.com. They have an amazing platform and a great setup of offices throughout that provide a top class experience. I myself have been using the platform for a while now and it has been a great experience. Thus, it was easy to sign with them as their Brand Amabassador and it has been a glorious journey so far.

Q. How has cricket helped you travel around the world and explore? Can you take us through those experiences?

A: Being an international cricketer, I have traveled a lot and have explored the world. It has been a great learning process and there have been times when there have been experiences of traveling while having contrasting emotions. We have learnt so much through those journeys, where we have traveled after winning trophies as well as after losing finals. It has been an amazing ride and an immense learning curve understanding the cultures of various places in India and abroad.

Q. Can you comment on your thoughts on traveling and what it means to you?

A: Traveling has been a healer and has provided me with mental peace and calm. I have learnt a lot from the many instances that have taken place while traveling with teammates, family, and friends. It is always great to spend time with your family and be able to disconnect from the stress of workload and just enjoy the process of traveling. Sometimes, your mind needs time off from all the hard work you have been doing day in and out and traveling has provided me with exactly that.

Q. Can you take us through one memorable experience with fellow cricketers that you recall?

A: There have been a lot of memorable experiences during my playing time. One of the best experiences was when I traveled along with MS Dhoni to the Himalayas when we had to play at Dharamsala in IPL 2010. We, along with all our teammates halted at a dhaba, where Dhoni made tea for us and everyone enjoyed tea and traditional Indian food. This was before the game where MS finished the match for us with a six and took CSK through to the playoffs. Thus, it can be said that the secret to that innings was the traditional Indian food we had at the dhaba before the game during our journey.


Excerpts from Booking.com's Country Head, Santosh Kumar's conversation with Sportskeeda

Q. Can you comment on the association of Booking.com with ICC and what it beholds for the future?

A: We have a five-year partnership with ICC as their Official Accommodation Partner for the ICC event between 2019 and 2023. We are very excited for the upcoming events, with the ICC Men’s ODI World Cup 2023 to be hosted in India and for all the other events as well.

The blend of sports and travel works amazingly well together. Travel is an intrinsic part of promoting the culture of the host country and Booking.com aspires to be the platform of choice when people are visiting these events, and we as a platform want to provide customers with end-to-end assistance. Thus, it has been an amazing journey to collaborate with the ICC and we are looking forward to many such events.

Kardinia Park, a stunning venue to watch #T20 World Cup action 😍Find out more about all the wonderful venues at the @T20WorldCup ➡️ t20worldcup.com/venuesBook your stay in Geelong through our Official Accommodation Partner @bookingcom! https://t.co/rHqcYf6esL

Q. Thoughts on Suresh Raina as the brand ambassador for Booking.com?

A: Suresh Raina is somebody who has been admired by everyone around the world and has been a great ambassador for Indian cricket. Be it with his batting or fielding, he has always given his everything to contribute to the team’s win and is a complete team player.

He is also someone who has traveled across the globe and has made unforgettable memories which we, as a company, connect a lot with. He is also personally connected to our platform and thus, feels like a natural fit for the role. The decision to sign him as a Brand Ambassador was quite easy and it has been a great association with him.

Q. Sports tourism is growing throughout the world and it is a very well-documented booming sector. So how is Booking.com looking to tap into that market?

A: Our vision is to make travel easy for everyone around the world and we want to cater to the needs of our customers, whatever they might be. Sports brings out a lot of emotions and people make the journey across the world just to watch various sporting events.

Booking.com wants to be their first-choice in any form of assistance they require right from flight to accommodation. We are trying to build a "connected trip vision" where we take the friction out of the journey completely and provide them with a smooth experience.

Q. Last year, Booking.com created a T20 pavilion stay. What special experience are fans going to receive at the T20 World Cup this year?

A: In the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Final, Booking.com is planning on creating a hotel suite at the stadium. It will be listed on our platform and customers will be able to book it and have a chance to stay there when the World Cup final takes place. They can also watch the game at the MCG from their suite itself. Thus, this is the kind of unique and authentic experience we are trying to create for our users.

Q. Can you take us through the sponsorship activation plans for the World Cup this year?

A: The first foot forward for us is the fact that we have three global ambassadors in Suresh Raina, Pat Cummins and Jos Buttler. We want to appeal to fans around the world. We have another story to tell about the new services we have to offer aside from accommodation, and we have an interesting way of engaging people along the travel journey.

Booking.com has also partnered with Klook, a company that provides a platform for users to carry out sporting and adventure activities. Thus, these are the few plans for sponsorship activation from our side.

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Edited by Dinesh Renthlei
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